Swedish Match To Acquire Remaining Ownership In General Cigar

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--()--Feb. 22, 2005--Swedish Match (STO:SWMA) announced today that it has agreed in principle to acquire all outstanding shares of General Cigar currently owned by the Cullman family. Under this transaction, Swedish Match will own 100 percent of General Cigar. The transaction is expected to be consummated on or before April 1st. Currently, Swedish Match owns 64 percent of General Cigar, while 36 percent of the company is owned by the Cullman family.

General Cigar produces the number one selling premium cigar in the United States, Macanudo, and several other leading premium brands in the US, including Partagas, Punch, and Hoyo de Monterrey. The company traces it roots to 1906, and has been managed by the Cullman family since 1961. Recognised as a world leader in the premium cigar business, General Cigar is the market leader in the US, and is one of the leading growers of high-quality Connecticut shade wrapper.

"The Cullman family has provided excellent management and developed the premium cigar business in the US. We look forward to further developing our cigar businesses, with the exceptionally strong brands of General Cigar, and to further grow our premium cigar presence in both the US and internationally," said Sven Hindrikes, President and CEO of Swedish Match AB.

The Cullman family will participate in the transition of the day-to-day operations to Swedish Match for the remainder of the year. While wholly-owned by Swedish Match, General Cigar will continue to be managed as a separate commercial unit.

"Since 1999 when Swedish Match acquired General Cigar's mass market cigar business, the relationship between our two companies has grown and flourished," said Edgar M Cullman, Jr., General Cigar's Chief Executive Officer. "The management of General Cigar is extremely proud of the successful business our people have helped to create and we are confident that the business will have an exciting and prosperous future under the management of Swedish Match."

General Cigar is already a full-consolidated entity of Swedish Match. The total purchase price for the remaining shares in General Cigar will be established under the call provisions of the existing shareholder agreement between Swedish Match and the Cullman family.

Swedish Match is a unique company with its range of market-leading brands in the product areas of snuff and chewing tobacco, cigars and pipe tobacco - tobacco's niche products - as well as matches and lighters. The Group's global operations generated sales of 13,007MSEK for the twelve month period ending December 31, 2004. Swedish Match shares are listed on Stockholmsborsen (SWMA).

Contacts

Swedish Match
Sven Hindrikes, President and Chief Executive Officer
Office +46 8 658 02 82
Mobile +46 70 567 41 76
or
Lars Dahlgren, Chief Financial Officer
Office +46 8 658 04 41
Mobile +46 70 958 04 41
or
Bo Aulin, Senior Vice President
Secretary and General Counsel
Office +46 8 658 03 64
Mobile +46 70 558 03 64
or
Emmett Harrison, Vice President, Investor Relations (IR)
Office +46 8 658 01 73
Mobile +46 70 938 01 73
or
Richard Flaherty, CFO North America Division,
US Investor Relations contact
Office +1 804 302 1774
Mobile +1 804 400 1774

Sharing

Contacts

Swedish Match
Sven Hindrikes, President and Chief Executive Officer
Office +46 8 658 02 82
Mobile +46 70 567 41 76
or
Lars Dahlgren, Chief Financial Officer
Office +46 8 658 04 41
Mobile +46 70 958 04 41
or
Bo Aulin, Senior Vice President
Secretary and General Counsel
Office +46 8 658 03 64
Mobile +46 70 558 03 64
or
Emmett Harrison, Vice President, Investor Relations (IR)
Office +46 8 658 01 73
Mobile +46 70 938 01 73
or
Richard Flaherty, CFO North America Division,
US Investor Relations contact
Office +1 804 302 1774
Mobile +1 804 400 1774